In the Fortune 500, salespeople have further to climb.Our data shows that prior to training, salespeople in the Fortune 500 tend to have less knowledge about sales skills—and to apply less of what they do know—than their counterparts in smaller companies. That means there is more room for improvement via training in the Fortune 500 than in the universe at large. If we look at post-training results for all five critical skills combined, Fortune 500 salespeople posted a 53% improvement in Knowledge (vs. 43% for the universe) and a whopping 106% boost in Application (vs. 86% for the universe). The reason for that is simple: Before training, Fortune 500 reps begin with lower scores. Thus, they have more room to grow. The trend is illustrated dramatically if we focus on Critical Skill No. 5, Gaining Commitment. This refers to the salesperson’s ability to get a customer to agree to take an action that will move the sales process forward—a “next step” on the path toward a completed sale. Here is what the training data shows for salespeople in the Fortune 500, vs. the broader universe of companies, when we isolate the skill of Gaining Commitment: IMPROVEMENT IN CRITICAL SALES SKILL #5: GAINING COMMITMENT Notice that the pre-training scores for both Knowledge and Application are significantly lower in the Fortune 500 than in the broader universe. Therefore, even though the post-training scores are nearly identical, the skill gain for Fortune 500 salespeople is much greater: 69% in Knowledge (vs. 56%), and >181% in Application(vs. 120%). The Fortune 500 reps simply had farther to go in order to reach the same skill levels. Why is it that salespeople in big, brand-name companies appear to be less skillful (before training) than others? Our hypothesis is that salespeople in the Fortune 500 tend to get less training than their counterparts because of an assumption that brand recognition, rather than sales skills, can be relied upon to sway customers. To some degree, that may be true. But the enormous post-training gains in both Knowledge and, especially, Application, suggest that an investment in sales training can pay spectacular dividends for the Fortune 500. For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485. For a deeper look at the insights that two decades worth of validated data can provide about the impact of training on companies like yours, see our Big-Data-Driven Sales Training Report for Your Industry.
ABOUT DUANE SPARKS
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).